DraftKings PGA Recommended Plays: WGC Mexico
The “Florida Swing” takes a turn for Mexico this week (yes, you read that right), as the players tackle Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City for the WGC-Mexico Championship. If this tournament seems unfamiliar to you, that’s because it’s only a year old, as this slot on the schedule used to be the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Doral, Florida. This means there’s only one sample of course experience to use this week when analyzing the field, making the 2017 leader board that much more important. The course is 7,500 feet above sea level, making the ball travel further, but the misconception is that a player needs to be able to hit it long to win here. Although Dustin Johnson, winner a year ago, hits it very long, he was only 27th in strokes-gained: off-the-tee, and instead did most of his damage with an iron or putter in hand. The most important predictors this week will be a combination of current form, and success in Mexico last year. The field this week is only 65 guys deep, a true portrayal of quality over quantity. World Golf Championship events bring some of the best players worldwide, so it’s a great chance to familiarize yourself with some names that don’t often play in the states. Before we get into the recommended plays for this week, let’s see how I did at PGA National last week.
Last Week’s results:
Justin Thomas: 1
Gary Woodland: T-49
Tyrrell Hatton: CUT
Russell Knox: CUT
Sung Kang: CUT
Well, that wasn’t pretty, but at least I gave you a winner. JT played sound golf all week, and defeated Luke List in the first hole of a playoff late Sunday evening. The only gripe about Thomas coming into this week was that most of his wins, he now has eight, have been on easy courses. With this performance on one of the hardest tracks on tour, he definitely silenced his critics, if he really even had any to begin with. The other four recommended players from last week, I’d prefer not to talk about. A missed cut in Golf is the equivalent of a goose-egg in Fantasy Football or Basketball. Not what we want. Let’s zone in and find some key guys for this week’s tournament in Mexico.
Jordan Spieth ($10,500)
It isn’t often that a player misses only one cut and finishes no worse than 20th in an event, but has their season thus far labeled as “disappointing.” That’s what happens when you win three major championships by the age of 24. We’ve come to expect so much from Spieth, and this week I believe expectations should be high. After going through a bit of a dry spell (if two top 20s in a three-week span is even a dry spell), Spieth posted a T-9 finish at Riviera in his last start. He was average three of the four days last year in Mexico, but used a Saturday 63 to finish T-12. If he can play like that all four days, then this will be the second week in a row that I recommend a winning player. Don’t forget that the famous trip to Augusta is next month, and if you’ve learned anything about Spieth over the years, it’s that he will always be in good form when the Masters comes around.
Tommy Fleetwood ($10,000)
Fleetwood is one of my absolute favorite players to watch. Hailing from England, it hasn’t been too frequent that we get to see him in the states, but it is definitely a treat to watch him when he is. He’s one of the most solid all-around players in golf, who doesn’t stand out significantly in any facet of his game, but simply does not make mistakes. When you don’t make mistakes, there will be consistently high finishes involved. He’s had a top-six finish in three of his last four events, and was also only a shot off the winner last year in Mexico, where a Sunday 66 propelled him to a runner-up finish. I’m using Fleetwood wherever possible this week, and am even more confident in him than I was in Justin Thomas last week.
Phil Mickelson ($9,300)
Phil was in this column two weeks ago for the Genesis Open and did not disappoint, finishing sixth. It may be hard to believe, but over his last three starts, that was actually his worst finish. Preceding the contest at Riviera, Lefty posted a T-2 finish at Pebble Beach, and finished tied for fifth in Phoenix. Better yet, Mickelson was tied for seventh in Mexico last year at the end of four days. If you’re looking for a guy who is playing well and has past success on this week’s course, but you’re not willing to spend in the $10,000s, I’d be all over Phil this week. Like Spieth, he always turns his game up a notch the closer he gets to the Masters, but at his current form, turning up a notch would pretty much mean winning. I think we like the sound of that.
Thomas Pieters ($8,300)
Getting Pieters at this price, the 16th most expensive option on the slate, is a complete steal, because I think he is easily one of the best 10 players in the field this week. He was a popular pick last year, because of the combination of his distance off the tee with the high altitudes. Both of those factors apply this week as well. He finished T-5 last year in Mexico, with four rounds in the 60s, the only player in the field to do so. The only player to post four rounds in the 60s of the 2017 Honda Classic was Justin Thomas. The winner of the 2018 Honda Classic was Justin Thomas. We may be on to something here. Pieters looked good at PGA National last week picking up a T-13. I put Pieters in the same group as the other three guys I’ve mentioned in this article, but he is at least $1,000 dollars cheaper than all of them. I’d pounce on the Belgian Bomber.
Sleeper for Cheaper
Jason Dufner ($7,500)
Dufner is the kind of guy who will win out of nowhere, although we have a few clues this time that a breakout may be upon us. Dufner finished T-17 last week at the Honda, one of three top 20s this year. His T-23 finish last year in Mexico also shows that he doesn’t hate this course. With him, it is always whether or not the putter cooperates. His price indicates that more often than not, it doesn’t. However, he’s a past major champion, and I’d be willing to take the chance at this price that maybe for one week, it does. If it does, a high finish is likely, because his ball striking is up there with the best of them.